30 Seconds

Watch me paint this tree in Ireland for 30 seconds

A lot can happen in 30 seconds. Here, through the magic of time lapse, this tree that I painted when we were living in a rural area of Ireland, gets some finishing details.

30 seconds can be the longest seconds of our lives when a baby is born with the cord wrapped around his neck and we’re waiting for him to breathe. That was how my son entered the world. Longest seconds of our lives. He was blue and lifeless. Then, he cried. Fear and impending grief turned to joy.

Life can change in an instant. 30 seconds is 30 instants. It’s a long time. So in that context, a full day is an eternity. Whenever I think I don’t have enough time, I try to remind myself of how time is our perception of it. When we are propelled by adrenaline, emotion, pressure, social energy, or other factors, suddenly we can pack a lot of activity into a short period of time. When we feel sluggish, discouraged, defeated, bored, or frustrated, we can drag our feet and make relatively simple chores seem like impossible burdens, missions we can’t possibly complete. We procrastinate and make excuses for why we can’t do what we really CAN.

I met all the taping goals today for the Easter show! Now I can turn my attention to the unexpected move we have to make in 2 months. It seems like an impossible task at the moment, but do I need a full minute? A lot can happen in just 30 seconds. In 30 seconds I can go from a resigned spirit to high energy. It’s really my choice. The pep talk I gave myself (and you) yesterday was similar to this one and it really helped! Some of you gave me great feedback and I was encouraged to stay the course (THANK YOU! <3 ). Now I can feel proud of what I accomplished today and I know that I can handle the challenges ahead.

Whatever you’re facing these days, I hope that my ongoing saga motivates you to join me in manifesting the outcome we want by powering through with full passion, energy, and hope. Obviously it will be difficult to maintain the full wattage of that power at all times, but if we think in terms of “30 seconds” we may be able to switch our mindset for just 30, and then 30 more… before we know it, the day is gone and we’ve done what we wanted to do!


Watch me paint “Painting Colors” in 1 minute (time lapse)

Update: I’m now down to only 5 left in the 2021 collection “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Nature“! I’ve been busy with the garden but I’ll start the next painting tomorrow. Today I harvested and dehydrated basil. Yesterday I took care of the dill plant. Yesterday went fine, except for smelling dill for hours, and since I’m not a big fan of dill, that was rather unpleasant. But, the project went well and the family is happy to enjoy dill seasoning. However, today’s project went horribly!

Firstly, I was disappointed that, unlike the dill plant, my basil had not done very well. There wasn’t as much to harvest as I’d hoped. Then, after I’d washed the leaves for quite some time, I set them aside to air dry and I saw a bit of dark failed leaf material like the others I’d picked off… except this one moved when I tried to grab it. UGH, a worm! Shortly after that, when I was giving the basil another round of washing because of the worm… a spider suddenly appeared on the top of my hand! ACK! 

So, it wasn’t going well. Then, I finally got the basil under control, all washed and dried (dry from washing, instead of sopping wet), and ready for dehydrating. So I put all the leaves on the tray, unfortunately only one tray because the harvest was poor. I only had enough healthy leaves to fill a single tray. Then, I started the dehydrating process and the basil leaves were so light that the fan blew half of them onto the bottom of the oven, ruined!

In the end, I managed to collect only a small amount of dried basil. Well, darn it. That wasn’t a productive use of my time. I could have been painting! Tomorrow, when I feel sluggish and don’t feel like painting, I shall motivate myself by thinking of my afternoon with basil. Yep, painting sounds fine!

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Free Online Art Classes

Watch the above video for a teaser about what my art course is like, and also a short inspirational speech to motivate you to pursue whatever your heart desires (not limited to painting or the arts, but life in general). If you’d like to take this course, you need to do nothing to sign up, all 12 classes are available 24/7 on this site, and you don’t need to even tell me you’re taking it if you prefer privacy. My art classes are completely free and available for all (tips welcome, but not required). I hope you take advantage of the opportunity, whether you are a beginner or a professional. 

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What do People Say about You?

Imagine that you can listen in to what people are saying about you. Perhaps, like me, you CAN. Maybe you have keyboard critics all over the world who leave reviews and comments about you on all major platforms. If so, do you read them? Why or why not?

I was recently updating my books page, and I visited the free “Grandpa Smiles” version on Google Play. I didn’t know there were so many reviews, and I started reading them. I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of praise. Then I stopped reading, even thought their words were very kind.

I don’t often read reviews, after learning the hard way that it’s demoralizing to read hateful comments (not constructive criticism, but purely nasty remarks for no purpose other than to destroy/cancel someone else’s creative work) and it affects my ability to work mostly for free day after day toward long term goals. I become distracted from my purpose and even begin to doubt that it’s worth putting my heart and soul into this journey.

Curiously, I felt equally uncomfortable reading positive reviews by strangers. I was eavesdropping! If they wanted me to hear their comments, my contact information is easy to find – it’s even inside the very book that they were reviewing. When they post their thoughts on the review page, that’s not really an invitation for me to join in. That’s the place for readers/viewers to talk among themselves. So, I stopped reading.

It was enough to see at a glance that my special book is appreciated and has given comfort to people who needed it. I can hold that in my heart and remind myself that what I do matters, and that I make a difference. On days when I am exhausted, in pain, or discouraged, I can remember that my efforts are worth it. But, I really need to stay away from seeing what people are saying about me.

What do people say about you, and why should you avoid listening? To answer that question, we must ask ourselves whose approval we live for. If we live for the approval of others, who are these “others”? How much power do we give complete strangers? How much power do we give to acquaintances, neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family?

"...take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others."
- Ecclesiastes 7: 21-22 KJV

That quote is from a section of the Bible that is labeled “Limits of Human Wisdom”. I’m not sure if I interpreted what I read in way that is standard, but I what I took away from this is that it’s not wise to listen to what people say about us. We are all guilty of unfair and unkind thoughts, sometimes uttered aloud, and other times wisely kept to ourselves. When we eavesdrop on what others say about us, we may not like what we hear, but I think more importantly we need to understand why it’s damaging to let the opinions of others influence us- even if they say something nice.

The Bible seems to describe being cursed by others as part of an ordinary human experience. Humans both curse and are cursed by others, and apparently these curses bring us no wisdom. What they do, is distract us from our purpose.

In this way, I believe that unless someone is speaking intentionally to us, we shouldn’t eavesdrop on positive comments either. Why? Because by doing so, we elevate “what people think” above wiser sources of motivation. If we are motivated by the approval of others, we are standing on shifting sand. If we are motivated by a higher calling that no person can distract us from, we stand on rock.

Advice, suggestions, and warm praise are positive things, but should never take the place of our own voice. Stay true to your path, no matter who attempts to destroy you. And when you overhear praise, don’t let it distract you. Our purpose is not determined by the limited wisdom of humanity, who often gets it wrong, even when they’re saying good things. 

Don’t do more of this, because others say so, or less of that, because others say so. Ask people you trust for advice when you want help, and read the words of those who inspire and motivate you. But resist listening to random, unexpected or unreliable opinions, some of which weren’t even intended for us to hear.

Watch me paint this art from Grandpa Smiles in 48 seconds

(time lapse)

There’s wisdom in the advice from famous people who say that they never read their reviews. Replace the words “read their reviews” with the phrase “listen to what people say about them”. Apply this to your life in any way that it fits. Trust yourself. Lean on a higher power, not the limited wisdom of humans. We’re all just muddling through life; we can get it wrong. If you know you’re doing what’s best for you, put on your spiritual noise-cancelling headphones and keep dancing.

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